Teacher Notes

Grade 7 Unit 4


History-Social Science Content Standards:

H/SS Analysis Skills

Chronological and Spatial Thinking

Research, Evidence and Point of View

Language Arts Standards met include:


The purpose of this lesson is to provide a context for the study of medieval Sub-Saharan Africa. Students are asked to look at the area through eyes of travelers in the company of one of history's greatest travelers, Ibn Battuta. The project has been structured to include all the State standards for this unit, and familiarizing students with these standards before they begin their work is recommended. Students should be expected to include as many of the standard elements as possible in their maps and journals.

The Adventures of Ibn Battuta: A Muslim Traveler of the 14th Century by Ross E. Dunn (University of California Press) may also be helpful. For a bibliography of additional resources, see the following Web site:


This lesson assumes that the class has access to one or two online computers. If more computers are available, students should do their journals and maps using as much technology as possible. A computer generated slide show could accompany the map presentations. A number of ideas for additional activities relevant to this study may be found in a lesson plan developed for fourth grade by Jayanna Kelly and Marie McPherson titled "Africa: A Cultural Safari," found on the Web at:


Allow time at the beginning of the lesson to develop a grading rubric with the class for the different elements of the lesson. A useful Web site with information for involving students in the assessment process may be found at http://www.interactiveclassroom.com/materials_performance_4.htm. This site provides a model for students to design their own grading rubric. By doing so, students have an opportunity to really understand grading criteria and internalize them before beginning the work of the lesson.


Groups should be heterogeneous and assigned by the teacher.